We are told that there is an increasing epidemic of women being sexually harassed on trains in the UK. Is there? Really?
The nascent Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has suggested that all-female carriages might be the answer. The British Transport Police (BTP) recorded 1,399 sexual offences in 2014-15 in England, Scotland and Wales – up 282 on the previous year. Recorded violent crimes also increased – up 8% to 9,149 – but overall crime fell for the 11th year in a row.
The reporting of sexual offences seems to have increased significantly only after 2013, as shown by the data below, derived as follows. The response to FOI request 255-15 addressed to BTP revealed the total number of sex related crimes reported to BTP between 2010 and 2014. BTP FOI request 1107-14 provides the same data for male victims. FOI request 303-14 provides the number of sexual assaults plus rapes of women on public transport, whilst BTP FOI 332-15 gives the number of sexual assaults plus rapes of men as reported to BTP. Combining all these sources gives,
|year||All sex related crimes reported to BTP: Female / Male Victims||Sexual assaults or rapes: Female / Male Victims||BTP reported rapes: Female / Male Victims|
|2010||891 / 33||521 / 22||13 / 1|
|2011||964 / 44||532 / 28||13 / 1|
|2012||890 / 47||483 / 29||8 / 2|
|2013||992/ 74||576 / 37||10 / 2|
|2014||1250 / 53||? / 23||13 / 4|
In contrast, FOI request 511-12 addressed to BTP gives the figures for the number of people arrested and charged, or cautioned, by BTP for sexual offences in 2011/12. The total was 168, of which 4 were for rape (all of a female under 16) and 8 involved male victims. These data are for England and Wales.
I have not been able to find data on the gender break-down of the victims of the 9,149 crimes of violence recorded by the BTP in 2014/15. However, it is reasonable to expect it to be broadly in line with the gender break-down of violent crime in the country at large. The 2013 CSEW reveals that men were nearly twice as likely as women (3.8% compared with 2.1%) to have experienced one or more violent crimes in the year prior to the interview. For children (aged 10 to 15 years) boys are nearly three times more likely to be victims of violence than girls in the same age range (8.9% cf 3.2%, see the 2103 CSEW Demographic Table D3). These data suggest that the 9,149 cases of violence recorded by BTP in 2014/15 might break-down as at least 5,900 male victims and not more than 3,249 female victims. The combined number of sexual and violent offences recorded by BTP would then be roughly 5,953 male victims and 4,499 female victims.
These numbers are only a crude estimate. My point is simply that there are probably significantly more male than female victims when these crime categories are combined. This is true for crime data covering the country as a whole. The concentration of the media on sexual offences loads the dice towards female victims. We are invited (implicitly) to regard sexual offences (implicitly against female victims) as in a special category of heinousness. Some will be, of course. But then, so will some cases of violence. In truth, comparison is meaningless. But by concentrating on the category of crime in which female victims predominate, a value judgment on relative seriousness is being smuggled in by default.
If you attempted a comparison you would be faced by questions like: which is worse: a sleaze-ball getting a cheap feel of a women, or a case of actual, or grievous, bodily harm against a male victim? The prevailing societal prejudice is that the answer is always the former – though this is ‘felt’ rather than openly expressed. We are encouraged to regard a sexual offence against a female as being of transcendent hideousness. In contrast, bodily harm of a male is merely business as usual. Hey, that’s just men’s stuff. But the perpetrator is not necessarily a man, of course.
BTP FOI 233-15 reminds us that on the London tube the number of crimes per journey has nearly halved over the last 7 years. The crime rate on the tube is thus about 7.2 crimes per million journeys. On London over-ground trains the rate is 6.2 crimes per million journeys. And this relates to all crime.
Since the total recorded crime in 2014/15 was 46,688 incidents it follows that sex related cases account for just 1,399 in 46,688 or 3% of crimes recorded by BTP. I conclude that the rate of sexual crimes on the tube is just 0.2 cases per million journeys, and fewer on surface trains. Accepting that sex related crimes are concentrated on females, the probability of a female being subject to a sex related incident on the tube or surface train does not exceed 0.4 per million journeys. Supposing a woman makes 400 such journeys per year for a working lifetime of 40 years, the probability of her being involved in a sex related incident, at any time in her life, is about 0.007.
Note that this is based on the data after the scary 25% increase in the rate of sex crimes.
Does this justify women-only carriages?
You see, the percentage increase is not a useful measure of the seriousness of the “problem” if the incidence was extremely low to start with.
Why is the media, and our politicians, and representatives of women’s groups, all so keen to portray our society – in this case our trains – as so dangerous for women when actually they are very safe?
Well, readers, you know the answer. It’s all part of the VAWG phenomenon. There is power in victimhood.
The far smaller number of reports of male victims of sex related incidents compared to the number of female victims will partly reflect reality but will certainly also be, in part, due to a higher threshold before males recognise their victimisation. The question which arises in my mind is just how low is the threshold now for some females to perceive they have been the subject of sexual harassment?
Oh dear, naughty me. I must be a hateful harassment-denier. Let’s get one thing clear. There is no doubt at all that some of the reported sexual assaults will have been genuinely very grievous cases and the perpetrators need to be brought to book. But I have an increasing suspicion that some cases are a matter of perception rather than objective reality. (I should be firmly on the feminazi death list now). For example, in the above linked BBC report there is an embedded video of a woman recalling her experience on the tube – do watch it.
Was this woman actually assaulted? It is far from clear to me. She does not tell us the nature of the assault. (Did the man move against her in a sexual manner?). We know that the tube carriage was “extremely packed”. People are unavoidably pressed up against one another in such cases. Anyone who has ridden the tube at rush hour knows this. Was the assault more in her mind than in reality? Was the man merely adjusting his position because he was being crushed? Or was he, as the woman believes, a sleaze-ball taking advantage of the situation for a cheap feel? Who knows. I don’t. But there seems to be doubt in the woman’s mind too, doesn’t there? She says she was unclear about the nature of the ‘event’ whilst it was happening. The interpretation of the event as an assault came upon her over a period of weeks later. What does that imply as regards psychology and perception?
The BTP, and the BBC, note that the increase in the reporting of sexual offences on transport is probably due to recent vigorous campaigns to encourage such reporting, rather than an underlying increase in prevalence. The “Report It To Stop It” campaign is a case in point. This includes a link to a video which I suggest you watch.
This video actually encourages women to report a man staring at her – or a man she believes is staring at her. This is criminalisation of the dreaded male gaze. We were bound to get to this eventually. And we are to believe that this is justified by the level of threat revealed by the above statistics?
But let’s get real. On the tube everyone is trying desperately to avoid eye contact with anyone else. But where-ever you look, you’re looking at someone. Gentlemen, you must find your shoes extremely fascinating from now on. God help the man who, in an unguarded moment, allows his eyes to rest on a woman for (literally) one second. Is she reaching for her ‘phone? Is she texting? You’re a goner, fella. The police are coming.
And for God’s sake don’t move closer to see if she is texting about you. She’ll feel your breath – and that’s step two in the escalation of your criminal behaviour.
The reason why reports of sexual harassment on transport have increased since 2013 is probably because the BTP introduced, in 2013, a text-based reporting system: the 61016 text service . The 61016 text service is for reporting any non-urgent incident. The bulk of these are not about sexual assaults or sexual harassment. Nevertheless, the video on the 61016 text service web page is about sexual assault – a crime category which accounts for just 3% of reports to BTP – do view it.
What a great resource this is for a woman with a grievance. Just been dumped? Want to get even with your ex? Simple, just ride the tube and drop a text to the BTP in the manner instructed in this video. And bingo – the guy gets arrested, in public. Well, that’s the scenario portrayed by the video. I doubt it would be quite so draconian in practice. But nevertheless, it is another example of how the public will accept without question that a man might be arrested simply on the word of a woman. And public bodies will make a video extolling the virtues of such a facility. Do the usual thing – reverse the sexes in this video. It wouldn’t go down well with the public then, would it?
BBC’s “Newsnight” lost no time in featuring the sex-segregated carriages suggestion. It does make me laugh the way they invite two interviewees to discuss the matter, as if that means there is a balanced debate. Well, hey, one of them was in favour of all-female carriages and one was against. So that’s balanced, right? Yes, right. Except that both were representing the feminist position. Both of them (women), as well as the BBC interviewer (a man) unquestioningly accepted that there is a rising tide of misogyny sweeping through our transport network. Please note that the opportunity to reinforce this completely false picture of our society is the true purpose of this whole episode. And because this ‘rising tide of misogyny’ is simply assumed to be a fact, it faces no challenge. The conversation is only ever about what we can do about it. This is an object lesson in propaganda.
Ms Richards confidently asserted that, “we are all united to combat social attitudes behind men’s entitlement and misogyny that leads to some men harassing or sexually assaulting women”. Let me deconstruct that remark for you. Whilst she has to admit that only “some men harass”, this fact is being used to spuriously reinforce the message that all men are “entitled and misogynistic”. This is a statement of the central credo of feminism. It has no empirical basis. Since it has no evidential support, this statement is overtly misandric.
She added, “every woman has a story about something that’s happened to them”.
Curiously, despite 100% of women apparently having “a story about something that’s happened to them” neither of the interviewees actually had a personal story to tell.
Ms Richards sang the praises of all-female carriages in Japan. She told us that the Japanese tube was “even more crowded than the London tube”. That will be sardines compressed to about 1000 bar then. She informed us that, “female only carriages were an overwhelmingly pleasant experience. It was quieter. It was friendly, it was calmer, there was a much greater sense of personal safety.” Well, OK, but if there was just more room, that would largely explain it, wouldn’t it?
But the most revealing thing that Ms Richards had to say was this: “It’s hard to tell when there’s a hand on you, or brushing against you, who’s doing it”.
Err….but why should that matter?
The crime should lie in the action, not in whether the action were carried out by a man or a woman. But by these very words, Ms Richards reveals that she will regard this “brushing against her” as harassment only if perpetrated by a man. It’s not what you do but what you are which makes you a monster. Unwittingly, Ms Richards has exposed her sexism.
[Aside: I conclude, incidentally, that if the Japanese train operator which adopted female-only carriages did not provide additional carriages then those left for the men would be even more crowded than before. The consequences of this in India are known: men find they cannot get into their authorised carriages. They are faced with waiting for the next train and perhaps being late for work, or using the women’s carriages, which have plenty of room. The result of the latter choice is that the men are physically assaulted, first by the women passengers and then, more seriously, by the police when they alight at the station, as shown here].
I would not have bothered writing this article were it not for Daisy Buchanan’s piece in the Guardian, “I’m tired of being kind to creepy men in order to stay safe” . The word “creepy” is a red flag word. It has nothing to do with the man’s character. It essentially just means any man who attempts to initiate a social exchange with a woman which is not welcome. A woman’s use of “creepy” has been dissected by Shieldwife. John Hembling makes essentially the same observations about “creepy” in the middle of this video. Ms Buchanan’s piece aligns precisely with that use of “creepy”.
I read Rod Liddle’s “parody” of Daisy Buchanan’s article before I read the article itself. Despite the Rod Liddle piece heaping on the sarcasm, it was not truly a parody because, amazingly, his depiction of the “harassment” suffered by Ms Buchanan appears completely accurate. Ms Buchanan claims that her experience of sexual harassment by men has been so severe that she has had to impose her own curfew and tries to be in bed by 11pm. She has had to do this because, she says, “I know from experience that something bad might happen if I have to get home after midnight and the streets are full of potentially terrifying men“.
What appalling experiences have led this poor woman to adopt such a view? In her entire life to date she seems to have had just three experiences to relate. Trigger warning: explicit details follow. All three of these experiences have involved men who have spoken to Ms Buchanan uninvited, in public.
And…..and….you wait to hear. No, there is no “and”. That’s it. Three men whom she did not know addressed her in public. That’s it. What they said was, respectively, “What are you reading, then?”, “What’s your name” and ” I keep seeing you around – what’s your name?”.
That’s pretty much it except that one guy, who was clearly mentally ill, did pull her earphone out of her ear – and apparently he had his hand down his trousers when he spoke to her (and we know what that means, don’t we? – or do we?). But Ms Buchanan seemed just as disturbed by the other two guys who, as far as I can tell from her description, did absolutely nothing other than address her, uninvited, in the manner described above. That’s it. No more exacerbating factors at all.
If that’s the worst that has ever happened to her, I have to say Ms Buchanan has had a very easy time of it.
But Daisy Buchanan does not see it that way. On the basis of the above episodes she regards the streets as “full of potentially terrifying men”. This is mental illness, surely? Janice Fiamengo has opined that feminism is a disease of the mind, and she might well be right. Ms Buchanan is the princess-and-the-pea. It will not matter how many mattresses of ‘safe spaces’ are placed around her, she will still be able to feel the pea of reality through them.
Did Daisy Buchanan really find these men terrifying? I suggest the truth is she found these men repugnant, not terrifying. I suggest that what we have here is misandry presented to us as harassment. What we have here is projection. To avoid accepting her own sexism, she projects it onto the victims of her misandry instead.
Ms Buchanan tells us how she was obliged to, “plan a different path” so as to “avoid the trio (of men) that caused me trauma.” Let me mansplain something to Ms Buchanan about “planning different paths”. This is personal, but I believe it applies to men generally. If I find myself walking just behind a woman on a pavement, especially if it is late at night or in a quite place, I am acutely aware that she may be worried that I could be a nasty man about to pounce on her. I take avoiding action. I avoid staying too close behind her for too long. I avoid actually approaching her, even though I really need to over-take her because I’m walking faster. To take these avoiding actions I go out of my way – literally. I cross over the road. Or I turn down a street that is not the best route at all. I do this out of consideration. I have done this all my adult life. But you would not be aware of it, would you, Ms Buchanan, because, by its very nature, my endeavours are designed to leave you comfortably unaware of my existence.
You mention jogging, Ms Buchanan. I too jog. My route is through woodland, with a narrow path – wide enough for just one. You see how my difficulty is magnified in this case? Let me tell you about a curious difference between the genders. When I approach a man on said woodland path, I can virtually guarantee that the man will turn around while I am still a few yards away and stand aside to let me pass. No problem for anyone. But women are almost never aware that I am approaching. I assure you that this is a very marked gender difference. So, if I am approaching a woman I start stamping on twigs and coughing loudly while I am still a little way off. Generally it does not help. Women tend to remain stubbornly unaware of my presence. This, of course, means that if I suddenly run closely past the woman on a narrow woodland track, she will probably jump out of her skin. This I must avoid because this will make me a bad man – because making a woman fearful automatically makes me a bad man. So, on many such occasions, I leave the path – the only remaining option. This involves crashing through thick undergrowth, a hazardous undertaking with an unacceptable risk of being tripped – a significant threat at my age. This I do out of consideration for women. I wouldn’t bother for a man – the few men that don’t hear me coming, I let them get a surprise because I know they won’t mind.
And I have not done this just three times, Ms Buchanan, I have done it hundreds of times. Perhaps it might have been you on that path once? But you never knew, did you? And you don’t care either. You don’t care how men are constantly having to constrain their behaviour because they are obliged to anticipate that the princess might be about to feel the pea again.
The bar for some women’s view of harassment is now set so low it is on the ground. (I repeat: There is no doubt that some of the reported sexual assaults are genuinely very grievous cases and the perpetrators need to be brought to book).
What behaviour is this type of woman demanding of men? They require that we do not speak unless spoken to; that we avert our gaze and avoid looking directly at them; that we do not trouble them with our existence at all. This, dear readers, is precisely the behaviour which Victorian aristocrats demanded of their servants.
And what about the female-only carriage idea? Well – here’s my emotional reaction to it. I have no objection – as long as we men get our own male-only carriages too.
And here is my emotional justification. Some women may be fearful about being harassed or assaulted in such places, but men are increasingly fearful of being accused of something beyond their control. Some women now appear to be on such a hair-trigger that the accusation could come at any time. After all, we now have a culture in which a man sitting on the tube with his knees an unauthorised number of inches apart is fair game for criticism (and punishment by law in the USA). Then there is the tricky challenge of absolute avoidance of even looking at a woman. And at rush hour, how is all physical contact to be avoided without separate carriages?
But that is not my rational view.
Well, for one thing I can hear the lesbian feminist separatists popping open the champagne from here.
And for another, look at the stats. The likelihood of being falsely accused is tiny, just as is the probability of a woman being assaulted.
We need to resist the wedge that the hate mongers are trying to drive between the sexes, not to assist it. We need to remember that the majority of women are not like the harpies who have the monopoly of the media and mainstream politics.
Let the bigots have their own carriage – preferably decoupled from the train in which the rest of us, of both sexes, are riding.